Category Archives: Baking

Baking Chez Moi:Gâteau Basque Fantasie & Chocolate Cream Puffs with Mascarpone Filling

Decided to make both of the recipes at the end of the month.

For sure my favorite of the two is the chocolate cream puffs. DSC_0081.jpgSimple ingredients and pretty easy to make.  I made about half my puffs and froze the other half. DSC_0083.jpgIt was super fun when mixing up the hot dough you could see the steam rising from the mixer.

DSC_0086.jpgI used a small cookie scoop and they came out perfect.

DSC_0089.jpgA little eager to try these so the pics aren’t perfect but these were great.  I used rose extract and I loved the flavor.  I also experimented with freezing the extra filling to use on some of the frozen puffs. Just spooned a little bits out on parchment and froze them.  Once I brought to room temp it was only a couple minutes till they started getting creamy.  Glad we’re going to have these on hand.

The basque fantasie was something else.  When I saw this in the book it reminded me of fruitcake and sure enough it tastes like a fruitcake in a lot of ways.DSC_0094.jpgI really regret not changing up the ingredients, I mean I have a whole bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge.  I knew this combo wouldn’t be my fave and despite it being really clear in the recipe that you could do what you want I forged ahead anyways.DSC_0095.jpgDSC_0097.jpgIt really does look curdled as described in the recipe.DSC_0101.jpgOnce the flour was mixed in all was well.

DSC_0103.jpgDSC_0106.jpgThis smelled pretty good while cooking.  It was interesting to make an apple filling on the stovetop for something that was going to look like a pie.  This reminded me of apple turnovers.DSC_0107.jpgDSC_0109.jpgI didn’t fuss with some of the fancy criss cross topping but it turned out looking pretty good anyways.  I really like the cake/crust/cookie thing the pastry part of this has going on.  This filling was not the right combo for my particular taste but it wasn’t hard to imagine about a billion different ways to make this.  Pears, cranberries and crystallized ginger; peaches and cream; strawberry and rhubarb; maybe even roasted butternut squash with maple sugar and some toasted pumpkin seeds.  This seems like a really good base to play around with some different flavors.

All in all, it was a good month to try and get on track with baking and I had fun making everything.  Hoping to keep this momentum up through December.



Baking Chez Moi: Le Cheesecake Round Trip and Cold Salted Caramel Sauce

I am desperately trying to get back into my routine with baking.  It’s been a rough go-around but hopefully as the weather cools and hopefully my health comes back I’ll be able to keep going.

I enlisted my husband Scott to help out since he is excellent at making cheesecake and I just couldn’t manage to stand for that long.  Luckily I was feeling up to making the caramel and despite a near disaster I ended up making it work.

I didn’t have spice cookies on hand and I was really feeling like graham crackers so I subbed those in for the cookies.  Kind of funny considering Dorie subbed the cookies for graham crackers to make this.  This cheesecake kept flirting with disaster when we realized we hadn’t boiled quite enough water for the bath and then my caramel sauce went super topsy turvy for a bit before coming around.  In the end, it all turned out.

I really liked the texture and flavor of this cheesecake and it was perfect with the caramel sauce.  Although now I have extra caramel sauce and I also have spoons that fit right in the jar I’m keeping it in so that may be a problem.  DSC_0783.jpgDSC_0784.jpgDSC_0782.jpgDSC_0789.jpgDSC_0788.jpg


Baking Chez Moi: Smoothest, Silkiest, Creamiest, Tartest Lime Tart

This is the kind of tart that my mom would declare outrageous.  I can almost hear her say ‘Christie, this is outrageous!’ as she takes another bite with wide eyes.  This is her way of saying that something is good in an unusual and addictive way.  Sadly she isn’t here to enjoy it and I don’t think she has a particular fondness for limes but it makes me think of her all the same.


The actual process of putting this tart together reminds me quite a bit of a classic lemon meringue tart recipe I have.  Similar way of putting the ingredients together and then adding in the butter afterwards.  All in all it is deceptively simple for the result.

This is in fact very tart and also very creamy and rich.  I’ve never cared much for lime tarts but I couldn’t resist a couple extra tastes of this filling.  I think my prior experiences lacked the tartness and texture that make this particular tart so great.



Baking Chez Moi: Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies

I was still recovering from my vacation this past week and having some health issues so Scott really baked these cookies as I took on more of what you’d call a supervisory role until it came time to roll the dough out.  I’m really grateful he helped out because I’m definitely needing it lately.img_7135-copy.jpg

These cookies were really fascinating.  Just a few simple ingredients made in an unconventional way.DSC_0033.jpgA few ingredients get mixed together until you have what looks like a great crumb topping.DSC_0034.jpgDSC_0037.jpgThe crumbles then go in the oven until they are golden.DSC_0039.jpgDSC_0041.jpgThe crumbles cool and then…you make the crumbles into a dough.  Yeah, crazy right?  The crumbles get mixes in with some butter and rolled out and chilled.DSC_0047.jpgThen cookies are cut out and baked up.

DSC_0048DSC_0052While we were making them it felt like there was no way for it to work.  And then it totally did.  Amazing.DSC_0058.jpgThe cookies are slightly sweet and very buttery and crumble apart in your mouth.  Scott thought ahead and froze some of the dough for the next recipe.  I want to crumble a few of these over some strawberries and cream.  Definitely one of the more interesting cookies.


Baking Chez Moi: Cheesecake Alsace Style

This cheesecake is pretty easy to make and a bit lighter than your typical New York style. I ended up using a black cherry rum to soak our raisins and it was great.  I’m not sure why we didn’t just sub with dried cherries but sometimes you think of these things just a little too late.  We were baking this last minute and late and managed to get it all done from crust to cooling.DSC_0646.jpgI got some serious cracking on my tart just as Dorie had warned.  The texture was so creamy and smooth and perfectly tangy with the cherry rum flavor adding some extra punch.  I would love to try this with chopped, dried apricots or dried cherries and Scott and I even talked about experimenting with a chopped maraschino cherry version.  The texture was fairly soft which proved difficult to cut pretty wedges until I realized the freezer would solve that problem. This was tasty and fairly easy and I have a feeling we’ll end up making it again.



Baking Chez Moi: Chocolate Creme Caramel

Sometimes you really luck out and a recipe is simple, elegant andreally easy.DSC_0049.jpgThe chocolate creme caramels called for the simplest of ingredients that are pretty much always in my house.DSC_0050.jpgThe only trick was making sure that the caramel didn’t burn.DSC_0054.jpgDSC_0055.jpgAfter getting it into the cups I was a little worried because it set so quickly.DSC_0059.jpgDSC_0060.jpgI moved on ahead and got the cholately goodness into the cups and water bath.DSC_0062.jpgOnce chilled in the fridge they didn’t look too spectacular.DSC_0076.jpgIt’s crazy how elegant these look after plating.  The caramel melted perfectly.  These were pretty intense with the early gray flavor, chocolate and caramel.  The size was perfect and I love that you can make them ahead.  I was also worried about getting them out but after a little coaxing they came out just fine. These would be great for a dessert with friends and a little espresso.


Baking Chez Moi: Real Hot Chocolate

We got a rare bit of rain in the Phoenix desert this week and it seemed perfect to make Real Hot Chocolate.DSC_0051It was so simple and so satisfying.  A little milk, dark chocolate, sugar and a pinch of salt was all that was needed for a very satisfying drink.DSC_0055.jpgNotice the fancy marshmallows topping of the hot chocolate.  These are courtesy of my husband Scott who decided to make some giant vanilla marshmallow squares to top this off.DSC_0062.jpgThe hot chocolate was great and I really appreciated Scott going the extra mile and I think the marshmallow’s really made this special.


Baking Chez Moi: Desert Roses

This has got to be the least amount of work for the biggest payoff in this entire book.DSC_0016We’re not supposed to publish the recipes for this book but I feel like it’s impossible to talk about this without doing that.  Melt the melty stuff, toss with the other ingredients and then scoop it into some mini paper cups.  DSC_0019DSC_0021 (1).jpgThese are delicious and actually end up looking fancy, or at least way fancier than the effort it took to make.  They’re also kind of addictive so be sure to share.


Baking Chez Moi: Rewind: Plain and Simple Almond Tart

So glad a rewind day came up because while I’ve not been terrible about baking along I’ve been really terrible about writing about what I’m baking.

DSC_0095.jpgI was excited for this recipe because I tend to find most gluten free baked goods awful but so many people seem to want them.  This had the simplest of ingredients and I usually have these on hand.DSC_0099.jpgI went full-on gluten free and used almond flour for the pan which turned out just fine.DSC_0101.jpgDSC_0104.jpgThis recipe made good use of the eggs to add texture and keep a light almond batter.DSC_0106.jpgDSC_0108.jpgThe real trick to this cake was mixing gently and keeping the batter nice and light.DSC_0111.jpgDSC_0115.jpgDSC_0119.jpgThis cake looked fabulous and simple on the cake stand with a little powdered sugar.  I got mixed reviews on this cake.  Some people thought it was way too plain and some people were absolutely over the moon.  I liked it but thought it was slightly plain.  It is definitely something I would make again as a gluten free treat and maybe add a side of fruit or some of the spiced hibiscus syrup we originally made to go with the coconut tapioca.



Baking Chez Moi: Simplest Plum Tart

Couldn’t believe my luck when I found some Italian plums at my local store.  Perfect timing for this simple tart.DSC_0242.jpgThere really wasn’t much to this tart.  After the crust was made it was a matter of slicing the plumsand crushing the cookies.DSC_0249.jpgDSC_0252.jpgI took the optional route and added a little cinnamon to my sugar.  I love cinnamon so I probably could have added a bit more.DSC_0265.jpgDSC_0262.jpgDSC_0267.jpgMy plums were ripe but they had a slightly tart flavor even after baking. It ended up being a really nice balance with the creme anglaise and cookie crumbs. I think if I make this again I will pack my plums a bit more since they shrunk a bit.  Overall the tart was really simple and made a great feature for the plums.